In the mail today came a book I am super ecstatic about: Tod Seelie’s Bright Nights, which gathers all of his New York photographs into one handy tome. Even as the city becomes a monochromatic carpet of condos and faux retro watering holes, Bright Nights is a reminder that even at its most Bloombergian New York has always retained pockets of creative chaos (and hopefully always will). This book is a tribute to those pockets — and all the bloody noses that come with it.
What’s more, I got to write an essay for this baby, which I’m pretty dang proud of. (Thank you, Jeff Stark, for the mad editing skills.) I’ve been an admirer of Tod’s work for years, from the time his images first started to pop up on Flickr years ago. I’ve long been enthralled by what they covered: under-the-radar events like Bike Kill, Japanther concerts, vogue-ing competitions and journeys made by Swoon on her flotilla of hand-made rafts. But it’s his framing and his sense of color that makes his work rise above simple documentation.